Even though their birthdays are only three days apart, The House Rule is: each person gets their own celebration. And their own cake. That's just the way it is. And it's only fair - because your birthday is the one time you should get to be special all by yourself. Unless you're a multiple - in that case, sorry. You have to share. Because you are an exception to the rule.
Since they aren't multiples (now, wouldn't that be awkward?), each of them got to choose their own birthday cake. (Cakes are kind of a BIG DEAL in our house.) Unsurprisingly, The Dude said "chocolate cake with chocolate frosting - nothing weird" (Oh, I was so listening to that instruction. Not). I kind of complied (it was a chocolate stout cake, with sour-cherry filling & whipped cream topping - I really wish I documented it, because it was truly a thing of beauty).
Fortunately, The Runner Girl and The Karate Kid are a little more accommodating with their mother's desire to stay off the beaten path in her culinary endeavors - although, sometimes they are a little too creative. The Runner Girl bounced around a few different ideas - most of them involving tropical fruit.
And eventually settled on an avocado cheesecake.... Which was kind of cool in my book. Because what 17-year old asks for an avocado cheesecake as their birthday cake? (The little apples did not fall very far from the momma tree, I guess.)
And while I admired her choice, I realized this one was going to require a little bit of investigating. There was no avocado cheesecake recipe in my back pocket. Oh, and we don't even want to talk about my some of my past struggles with these cakes made of cheese. But I researched. And networked. And came up empty handed. And was really not happy with what was out there. (There were some lovely recipes out there, but I was looking for a traditional baked cheesecake - not a refrigerator cheesecake. Not one that needed ground up horse hooves. Just a plain old Philly cream cheese, egg, sugar - throw it in the oven kind of cheesecake.)
At which point, I had a mental conversation with myself to remind me that I never follow a recipe anyway... So why not play with one and turn it into what I wanted. And in usual form... traded out ingredients, crossed my fingers and jumped in.
And in the end - I was happy. The Runner Girl was happy. And birthday cheesecake was had by all - sans candles.
Now, The Karate Kid's birthday is coming up during the summer. And she wants a watermelon cake - from scratch. And using Jello to get the flavor is not an option (my rule, not hers). I have about seven more weeks to figure how I am going to pull that one off. Wish me luck!
We celebrated our birthday week with a train ride to "The City" for a day of "seeing", shopping and most excellent eating. (And momma got to score a jar of chestnut cream & a bottle of truffle oil in Chelsea market. Woo Hoo!)
As I noted, I searched and searched and could not find a recipe for a baked avocado cheesecake anywhere that I was happy with (most of them were for blender cheesecakes or used gelatin). So, I dabbled. And was pretty happy with the results. Here is what I did...
Avocado Lime Cheesecake
Adapted Very Generously from Bon Appetit Desserts Key Lime Cheesecake Recipe
9 graham crackers
5 Tbs butter - melted
3 Tbs sugar
3-8 oz packages Philadelphia cream cheese (get the good kind!) - room temperature
2 ripe avocados
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs - room temperature
1/2 tsp lime oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
9" springform pan
large roasting pan for water bath
heavy duty, wide aluminum foil
Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare crust: Line the bottom of a 9" springform pan with parchment paper. Process the graham crackers and sugar in the bowl of a food processor until "crumby". Pour in melted butter and process until crust begins to hold together. Pour into the bottom of the prepared pan and press firmly into bottom (only) of pan. Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup or drinking glass to help you press it in. Place cake pan in the middle of the oven and bake until crust is firm to the touch and browned (not burnt) - ~25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool - wrap bottom and sides of pan in aluminum foil (two layers). Turn oven to 350F and maintain temperature.
Prepare filling. Once crust has come out of the oven, begin preparing filling. Using an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth (stop & scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go - no one wants any chunky monkies showing up in the end product). Beat in avocado and then sugar. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add eggs one at a time - scraping down bowl between each addition. Stir in lime oil & vanilla.
Place wrapped springform in roasting pan. Pour batter into pan - tap pan a couple of times to work out any bubbles. Pour boiling water around springform so that it comes half-way up the sides. Loosely cover. Place cheesecake (in the water batch) on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake for one hour. After one hour, remove cover and bake until cheesecake is almost set (only jiggles a little when lightly shaken) - 20-30 minutes.
Remove cake from oven & waterbath. Carefully remove aluminum and place cake in refrigerator over night to cool (uncovered). Cut around cake with knife to loosen from sides. Remove sides. Cut, serve & enjoy...